Latest Shohei Ohtani reports suggest Blue Jays are finalists, Winter Meetings deal is unlikely

Speculation is intensifying that the Blue Jays have a genuine shot at Shohei Ohtani, but one prominent MLB Insider says not to expect an imminent decision.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. However, rather than referring to A Tale of Two Cities specifically, we're using Charles Dickens' famous quote to describe what Blue Jays fans are going through right now.

The Blue Jays are set to either make this the best or the worst offseason in team history. And as much as this may sound like hyperbole, on some levels it's also true.

If all the ever intensifying speculation is anything to go by, the Blue Jays are genuine players for Shohei Ohtani, arguably the biggest ever free agent in Major League Baseball. However, as per the history of Blue Jays and indeed Toronto sports in general, fans could be forgiven for thinking it's still not going to happen.

In fact, that it would be so Toronto, to be in with a realistic chance at signing Ohtani, only to fall at the final hurdle. Suddenly, the ecstatic highs of hope, would he replaced with the excruciating low of loss.

Hence, why this is both the best and worst time to be a Blue Jays fan. With this in mind, the latest speculation surrounding Ohtani is unlikely to do any favours for fans, especially those of a particularly anxious or nervous disposition.

No hurry for Ohtani

That's because the three-time All-Star is apparently not on the verge of signing, at least according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. As he puts it in his latest article: "Give it a week, certainly before the Christmas holidays, but not quite yet."

Okay, so maybe it doesn't sound that bad, but the point is that no announcement is apparently imminent. Which means the Blue Jays and their fans must wait a while longer yet, along with the other teams in contention.

On this subject. Nightengale reports that the other contenders include the Dodgers, Cubs, Angels, Giants and at least one other 'mystery' team. As has been the case throughout, the Dodgers remain favourites to secure the signature of Ohtani.

So why hasn't he signed yet?

However, at the risk of getting the hopes of Blue Jays fans up even more, it's still worth asking about the Dodgers' position as favourites. If the two-time Silver Slugger was going to sign for them like the experts are saying he will do, why hasn't he already?

This could allude to Los Angeles not being quite the picture perfect fit people think it is. And/or perhaps, one or more of the other teams having genuinely caught Ohtani's attention, and he really is conflicted about what to do.

Two of the initial criteria, was that the three-time All-Star wanted to stay on the West Coast and play for a contender, hence the Dodgers' long-standing position as favourites to sign him. However, as we previously wrote, he has subsequently become more open to moving to the East coast.

In respect of the Blue Jays specifically, there is the unique allure of adding a third country to expand his passionate fanbase. Additionally, Ohtani has apparently taken notice of their player-development resources.

We know the Blue Jays can afford to pay whatever the 29-year-old wants, backed by the evil empire that is Rogers Communications. And with three playoff qualifications in the past four seasons, they certainly qualify as contenders.

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Ultimately though, we appreciate none of this can help Blue Jays fans right now; their team has a genuine chance at landing Ohtani, but for now they must remain patient. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...